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Of the three main types of damp (rising damp, condensation damp and penetrating damp), it is rising damp that fills people with the most dread.
It is true that it can be quite awkward to fix – and it can be costly. Fortunately, it’s the least common type of damp.
Condensation damp, on the other hand, is usually the easiest damp problem to resolve. Often it can be addressed relatively simply by improving ventilation in the home or changing some everyday habits, such as not drying clothes on radiators. If treated early enough, a lick of damp proof paint may do the trick. That just leaves penetrating damp. It sits somewhere in the middle of the two, but penetrating damp treatment cost can be expensive.
The reason for this is that usually there are two associated costs with penetrating damp. In the vast majority of cases, penetrating damp is caused by some sort of building defect. Obviously, the defect that is causing the penetrating damp will need to be repaired first – and then you have the secondary cost of treating the effects of the penetrating damp itself.
The cost of addressing building defects
Of course, it’s virtually impossible to put a figure on how much it will cost you to repair the underlying cause of penetrating damp in a property. Some common causes of penetrating damp include cracks in the guttering, issues with roofing, or leaking pipes. In a survey conducted by Which? 50% of respondents who had faced penetrating damp in a property said that they had called in the services of a builder. Interestingly though, 22% said they had dealt with the structural/building defect themselves.
The lesson to learn here is that although it could well be something quite major and serious, often the defect itself is something relatively minor and easy to fix. One of the best ways of keeping penetrating damp treatment cost down is to spot it early.
Symptoms of penetrating damp
The symptoms of penetrating damp are fairly easy to spot. You might notice discolouring to painted surfaces or wallpaper. Plaster might appear to be blistering and disintegrating. Localised damp patches that seem to appear at random are another common sign, or you might see a growth of mould and experience a musty smell.
If you notice any of the above symptoms, that’s your cue to examine the property for defects.
In an ideal world, maybe we should all be carrying out forensic checks on our homes on a weekly basis! In reality, that’s unlikely to happen. Our lives are busy enough without timetabling in a weekly guttering/roofing inspection – but the sooner you spot a defect the better and it will keep the costs of addressing penetrating damp down.
The cost of treating penetrating damp
But, let’s look at the worst case scenario – either you didn’t spot the symptoms or you ignored them for too long. Now you have reached the point where you have to deal with it.
Let’s say you have paid a builder to fix the defect (or you’ve done it yourself), what other penetrating damp treatment cost will there be?
Well, again, it’s virtually impossible to give a ‘typical price’ – it will depend on the extent of the damage and the size of the property, amongst other things. However, what we can look at are some of the most common treatments for penetrating damp and how much the average costs for these are.
Penetrating damp is often caused by issues within the cavity walls of a property. If a blockage has occurred, the average price of clearing them out in one area varies from £130-£350. Inserting a basic cavity tray to stop water from an outer wall penetrating an inner wall will typically cost around £250 for a one metre wall. If a weakness is identified in a wall, inserting a new damp proof course might cost as little as £165 for a one metre wall up to £350 for a 5 metre wall.
All these prices are national average prices. Bear in mind that some areas of the country, such as the South East, tend to more expensive.
If damaged exterior walls are allowing damp to penetrate, once the damage itself has been fixed, a coating of exterior damp proof paint will often suffice. This should cost between £100 and £500, depending on the size of the affected area.
When thinking about penetrating damp treatment cost, it’s interesting to look at the range of prices that you could face. A serious issue, untreated for a long time, could require a tanking treatment – in most cases the cost of this will run into thousands of pounds. On the other hand, the issue could be something as simple as a window that needs resealing. You could probably fix that DIY and get change from a £20 note! So, prevention is always better than cure and it certainly pays to be vigilant.